Stone Soup Child Care Programs

Prevention; Ages 5–12


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Promising delinquency program

Risk Factors

Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
General delinquency involvement
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives


Stone Soup Child Care Programs. After-school programs should be a component of every community’s continuum of prevention programs. Aside from their potential for delinquency prevention, after-school programs enhance the well-being of children and contribute to their safety during the critical period of school days in which many children and adolescents might otherwise be unsupervised by adults. An exhaustive RAND Corporation review of research on after-school programs identified evidence-based “good practice standards” for successful programs (e.g., educational attainment, emotional development, and health).

RAND researchers identified 17 “good practice standards” of successful after-school programs in the research literature:

Staff Management Practices

  • Training staff
  • Hiring and retaining educated staff
  • Providing attractive compensation

Program Management Practices

  • Providing of a sufficient variety of activities
  • Ensuring that programming is flexible
  • Establishing and maintaining a favorable emotional climate
  • Maintaining a low child-to-staff ratio
  • Keeping total enrollment low
  • Having a mix of younger and older children
  • Providing age-appropriate activities and materials
  • Providing adequate space
  • Maintaining a continuity and complementarity with regular day school
  • Establishing clear goals and program evaluation
  • Paying adequate attention to safety and health of students

Community Contacts

  • Involving families
  • Using volunteers
  • Using community-based organizations and facilities

RAND researchers applied these “good practice standards” to Stone Soup Child Care Programs. Stone Soup is a nonprofit organization that administers school-based after-school programs in collaboration with local school districts, communities, and parents throughout California. It sought RAND’s independent judgment regarding the extent to which it was meeting the standards. The Stone Soup Child Care Programs scored “excellent” or “good” on all of the standards.

The Stone Soup concept began in Los Angeles County in 1987 as a community approach to the lack of affordable child care, especially for low-income families. The program is a unique partnership consisting of the school district, Stone Soup Child Care Programs, cities, parents, local businesses, and public and private grants.

The Stone Soup Child Care Program brings together the resources of each community to meet its individual needs. Stone Soup functions as a catalyst to help parents, districts, governmental agencies, and businesses pool their resources to provide programs for that community. No two programs are the same, but in all:

  • Local school districts provide space for the program, utilities, custodial and payroll services, and liability insurance.
  • Governmental agencies may provide park sites, special programs, library enrichment, field trip transportation, and short-term scholarships for the children of families in crisis.
  • Local businesses provide volunteers, in-kind donations, and financial support for tuition assistance and/or other program needs.
  • Parents pay low monthly fees and volunteer if they can.
  • Stone Soup Child Care Programs serves as an umbrella organization that develops programs; recruits, trains, and supervises staff; oversees the day-to-day operations; evaluates the program; and raises the financial support needed to supplement revenues from the fees parents can afford to pay.

The result is a comprehensive school-age child care program available to all children enrolled in participating school districts that is:

  • Low-cost and self-supporting.
  • High-quality, with well-trained staff who are bilingual in languages that closely resemble the student demographics.
  • On school sites, where working parents know their children are in a safe, enriched environment.


RAND Corporation: Promising program


Stone Soup Child Care Programs
15910 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1702
Encino, CA 91436-2811
Phone: (818) 905-1441
Fax: (818) 986-7443
Web site:


Beckett, M.; Hawken, A.; and Jacknowitz, A. (2001). Accountability for After-School Care: Devising Standards and Measuring Adherence to Them. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Go directly to the main content section. Go directly to the main navigation menu.
Privacy Policy    Plug-Ins    Notice of Federal Funding and Federal Disclaimer    Accessibility
Access keys help